by Ulf Månsson
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Sweden has had three players listed as the world's best - legends that evoke sweet memories in the first days of the Swedish Open.
Björn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg have all been world number ones. If you put them along with Anders Järryd and Mikael Pernfors you get a total of 35 Grand Slam titles. Precious tennis nobility that brings together much of the history of Swedish tennis. Players who have an obvious place at the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Swedish Open.
"It all started when I contacted Bjorn (Borg), and he was excited to be involved. Then came Wilander and Edberg and I was very enthusiastic," says tournament director Christer Hult.
The organizers have invited the Swedish as well as international celebrities. Three-time champion Manuel Santana, Martin Mulligan, and Ilie Nastase are some of the old great players who will spend a week in Bjärehalvön.
Mats Wilander, with Mikael Pernfors and Björn Borg as a coach, attracted thousand spectators to the center court on Monday evening when they played against the French couple made up by Guy Forget and Cèdric Pioline.
In the stands there were people who saw the actors as their companions through life.
"To see them here evokes many memories. I'm the same age as Borg and followed him throughout his career," says Stefan Joelsson from Växjö who followed the match in the stands with his wife Catherine.
He has been able to follow Mats Wilander even more closely.
"He is also a Smålander," so it is clear. Actually, I have a neighbor who has met him and always bragged that he won a game, laughs Stefan.
Unlike during their active careers they are not focused on winning now, but rather to entertain with various art types.
Båstad residents Lena and Mats Johansson sat and enjoyed the show - despite the evening chill. "It's these players you grew up with," says Mats in a change of ends and Lena continues: "When they played there was the same hysteria we had for Stenmark," she recalls.
Legend matches will continue on Tuesday when Stefan Edberg and Anders Järryd meet Germany.